*I received a free ecopy of this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I don’t always have the best luck with this type of paranormal romance, but I do like retellings, and the main reason I was interested in this one was because I had literally been wondering why every Alice in Wonderland retelling or inspired book makes the Hatter the sexy character when the Cheshire Cat has always seemed like the far more interesting character to me and the one who would be a lot sexier if he were given a human form. And then *WHAM* this book, with it’s blurb about a seductive Cheshire Cat, falls into my lap. (Or pops up on Netgalley for review. Same thing.) And I have liked some paranormal romance, plus sometimes it’s fun to take risks because books can surprise you.
Ultimately though, this one didn’t work for me. It was just a little too typical, as far as the romance and characters went. The men were all amazingly hot and swoony, and the protagonist was immediately turned on by all of them, even when they were being jerks. The protag was feisty, brash, and spunky and ran her mouth off even when in life-threatening situations. The love interest was mysterious and brooding with a tragic backstory, but he was immediately drawn to the protag despite not knowing her yet. And about halfway through the book I predicted the “twist” that came at the end.
As for the main character herself, Kat, she acted feminist in the sense that she didn’t want to be a damsel in distress, kept telling herself to stop swooning over the men she couldn’t trust, etc., but I actually found her to be rather anti-feminist & judgmental. For a few examples, she mentioned that she hates crying women because “tears were meant for children and mourners,” she joked about how the fae men were all over the place emotionally and the fae women were already “perpetually pissed off” so “it had to make that time of the month a frightening experience for everyone around,” and she insinuated that committing suicide is shameful. It made her unlikeable to me.
There was also one strange near-rape scene that disturbed me a bit. I think it was the way it just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story and the way Kat then made light of it that bothered me. She mentioned that the sarcasm was her way of coping, and eventually it hit her how serious of a situation she had been in, but I still felt uncomfortable with the joking.
But, aside from a few typos and a few small things that didn’t quite add up, this wasn’t poorly written or a bad story. It was a neat take on Wonderland (not a retelling, but still the same land that Alice visited with some familiar characters). And for all my griping about the hot, swoony men, they were still some nice eye candy for my brain (brain candy?) and kind of intriguing. And though Kat was turned on by them, there was at least no instalove—no love at all, actually. There were also some plot threads left for the next book that could turn out interesting. As it is, I don’t see myself continuing the series, but, had I liked Kat more, I might’ve because I’m curious to know more about Chess (the Cheshire Cat), how things will turn out, and who Kat will end up with.
So not my favorite book, but I think anyone who likes the typical PNR genre more and who is ok with what I mentioned about Kat’s character will probably enjoy the book.
Paranormal romance fans who like feisty, spunky female protagonists.